Private cloud, public cloud, sovereign cloud and cloud repatriation. What does it all mean?

Cloud computing, like other areas of IT, is constantly evolving. With rapid development comes constant new opportunities, but also new concepts.

We will look at two classics – private cloud and public cloud, but also at two new concepts that respond to the evolution and market experience of running cloud infrastructure: sovereign cloud and cloud repatriation. Understanding these concepts and, more importantly, the models they describe, is crucial for any organisation tackling its digital transformation strategy.

Private and public clouds are two different ways to manage and store data in a virtual environment. The choice between them can be influenced by a number of factors including CAPEX/OPEX financial models, commitments, customization and flexibility options, licenses used, and computing power.

Private cloud

The private cloud provides companies with a private and secure environment where they have full control over their infrastructure, data and resources. For companies, private cloud is often a compromise and intermediate step between on-prem infrastructure and public cloud. A private cloud requires an initial investment and IT expertise to manage it. However, the solution may be a modern cloud provider like us at Geetoo, which takes care of the deployment and management of the cloud and at the same time offers the possibility to spread the initial investment over time. 

Typically, private cloud has been a sought-after solution in highly regulated industries where compliance and protection of sensitive data is important. However, thanks to advances in the quality of public cloud security, private cloud has been less heard of recently, and the two options have come pretty close together, but private cloud still remains the preferred choice for companies that need a higher level of customization and flexibility, for example in the choice of CPU model.

Public cloud

On the other hand, the public cloud offers a cost-effective solution with a lower initial investment associated with physical infrastructure. The public cloud tends to be more limited in terms of customisation, as the infrastructure and processors are shared between multiple customers. While public cloud from global players such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google is ideal for office applications, web and other areas that are not core competencies of a company, we at Geetoo offer solutions for customers who need a higher level of customization, typically connecting to local ERP and other systems, choosing a CPU model and deeper integration with existing business processes.

Although there were concerns about data security in the public cloud in the past, today they are mostly unfounded – by default, data is stored on identical shared storage, but it is completely isolated and protected so that customers cannot see each other’s data.

Sovereign Cloud

The term sovereign cloud has emerged as a response to increasing privacy regulation. Local legislation to protect sensitive information, typically GDPR, has forced companies to deal with multiple modes of working with data, even where it is physically located. A sovereign cloud is a model where data is always stored and processed within the boundaries of a given country and its legislation.

The European Union’s legislative push for cloud sovereignty not only makes sense from a macro perspective and for Europe’s competitiveness, it mainly helps those who use the cloud. A sovereign cloud implies a multicloud approach. It forces vendors to open up their solutions while needing standards and advanced automation to operate globally. As a result, this leads the market to move to the next technological level across the board. More on that here.

The term was popularized by VMware and most global cloud providers already proudly proclaim their solutions as sovereign cloud ready, but this is not always true. However, as things evolve, it can be assumed that cloud sovereignty will soon be a mandatory part of any solution. The data will be automatically localised based on global standards and none of this will mean higher costs. For now, however, it is the music of the future.

Cloud Repatriation

Our latest and newest concept is cloud repatriation, or the process of moving data processing from the cloud back to a local data center or private cloud. This is a correction to the almost uncritical enthusiasm for new cloud services. After years of operation, companies often find that the public cloud is definitely not suitable for all situations. 

In some cases, running on your own servers can be cheaper and for some activities it makes sense to handle IT in a more closed mode, with a greater degree of control and certainty. Cloud repatriation requires similar careful planning and strategy as moving to the cloud. Successful repatriation depends on a comprehensive assessment of performance and workload requirements, a well thought out migration and a strategy to ensure business and operational continuity. More information can be found here.

Which cloud to choose?

The basis of the selection is to critically evaluate the current IT needs of the company and the capabilities of current technologies. The first aspect is cost and security, but it is also important to look at the possibilities and the need for scalability and flexibility.

While in the past the discussion was almost black and white: stay on-prem or go cloud, today the decision is much more complex, companies have more choices and more opportunities to make a mistake in their choice. It is therefore very important not to rely on a single solution and to have a partner who knows the cloud ecosystem.